The year 2016 has been quite a turning point for the retail sector. Brick-and-Mortar is very much alive and will be in the time to come. Last year, retailers found unique ways to cater to the in-store personalization needs of the customers. The retailer’s ambition along with the rise of technology has taken retail marketing to another level altogether. Although much of the same that transpired in retail last year is forecasted for 2017, many believe that the few shortcomings that sprung up in 2016 will gain full traction this year. On that note, let’s have a look at the major retail marketing trends for 2017.
The New Proximity Sensors in Retail
We all know the contribution that proximity sensors have made to retail marketing ever since its’ inception a few years back. It sure made it easier for retailers to cater to customer personalization and establish shopper engagement. But one must agree that it never really took off from there. One of the primary challenges of sensors, apart from the maintenance, has been the fact that most implementations require customers to download apps on their phones to receive messages. Google’s new sensor technology will enable retailers to connect with customers through Chrome, which means that customers can opt in and receive messages with a single tap without the need of downloading the mobile app. Once deployed, the Google proximity sensors will provide a lot of convenience to both retailers and customers and hence, can be expected to become an immediate trend for retailers to follow. 2017 might be the year when sensors revolutionize retail once again.
The Rise of Social Commerce
In the last couple of years, we have seen the impact that social media reviews and peer recommendations have had on the purchase behavior of customers. Social media networking websites are further focusing on enabling means for customers to purchase directly from their websites. Customers too are quite fond of following brands on social media websites. Let’s look at what objective customers have while liking or following a brand on social media through the following illustration.
(Image Source: marketingweek.com )
Brick-and-mortar retailers need to be flexible with their retail marketing strategies. Just focusing on in-store marketing and having an online presence won’t be enough. With social media commerce certainly gaining traction, they will need to resort to marketing on social media as well to score maximum conversions. Customers may end up buying products in the store, but as the above illustration depicts, a lot of the inspiration and motivation to purchase happens on social media. Social Commerce will rise in 2017 and retailers will need to take note of that.
The Growing acceptance of chatbots
One of the most important aspects of marketing is how brands and customers interact with each other. Artificial Intelligence powered Chatbots have certainly been in the reckoning when it comes to offering customers with high degree of personalization, but somehow brands and retailers have been a little reserved in fully resorting to them. 2017 is the year when chatbots are expected to bloom and prosper. Not just online, but offline retailers will also look to adopt in-store live chat via tablet for acquiring a personalized interaction with customers. This will provide more insights about the customers and make it easier for retailers to personalize their shopping experience. Chatbots can be expected to gain more acceptance this year.